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Mom Files Lawsuit After Video Shows School Resource Officer Handcuffing 7-Year-Old Autistic Boy

A North Carolina mother filed a lawsuit against her son’s school on Friday after a school resource officer handcuffed him for allegedly spitting.

The incident happened on September 11, 2018, at Pressly Alternative school in Statesville. The 7-year-old boy, who is autistic and only identified in as L.G. in court documents, was taken by teacher aides to a quiet room to calm down. 

That’s when the encounter with resource officer Michael Fattaleh, 38 began. According to the Charlotte Observer, it was all caught on bodycam footage that was ordered released by a judge at a local reporter’s request.

You can hear Fattaleh on the video telling the staff that “he’s mine now.” He grabbed the boy and placed him in handcuffs. Fattaleh held the boy on the ground for 38 minutes while the boy appeared agitated. 

In the footage, you can hear the officer asking the boy, “ever been charged with a crime before?”  

“If you, my friend, are not acquainted with the juvenile justice system, you will be shortly,” he tells L.G. 

Another officer uncuffed him when his mother, identified only as A.G., arrived. She brought the boy to the hospital with scratches and bruises afterward.

“A school resource officer at a school for special needs students handcuffs and pins a 7-year-old boy to the ground for almost 40 minutes? There is never a need for that, particularly since there was never a threat of harm to anyone,” says the family’s attorney, Alex Heroy. “The reported act was that the child spits on the floor. That should never justify this kind of a response to a kid, to a child.”

According to the suit, the school never disciplined the boy. He returned the next day; his mother, however, is now homeschooling him after he became anxious and was sent home early.

Fattaleh was placed on administrative leave before eventually resigning from his position with Statesville Police Department. 

In the lawsuit filed by the boy’s mother, Fattaleh, the city of Statesville, and the Iredell-Statesville Board of Education are all named. The suit is seeking unspecified damages.

School schooting
Istock

About ErinBoogie

Erin Boogie is a blogger for BallerAlert.com and producer/co-host of the weekly radio show In the Field Radio.

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